A straightforward if somewhat idealistic account of the history of modern Israel, especially as it intersects with the personal history of one of its foremost statesmen. Herzog, former president of Israel and author of several books about Israel and military affairs (Heroes of Israel: Profiles of Jewish Courage, 1989, etc.), recounts highlights of his public life while offering insights and personal musings on the history of the state of Israel. Born into a respected rabbinical family in Ireland and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge, Herzog migrated to Israel in 1935, when his father was elected chief rabbi of Palestine. We follow his career of public service from army general to director of military intelligence, from first military governor of the West Bank to Israel's ambassador to the UN. Throughout his career he was guided by the principle that Israel's mission was not just to survive, but to serve as a much needed model of morality. After the Six-Day War, Herzog recalls, Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek stormed into his office, insisting that milk be immediately distributed to the Arab children in East Jerusalem. Herzog insists that the Arabs repeatedly missed opportunities for peace because of their inflexibility and pride. However, he does see a new Middle East emerging. Despite the recent election of Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, Herzog believes that peace is on the horizon. Arafat, he writes, has gone ``from hostility to partnership in a working relationship, one of the more astonishing relationship shifts in history.'' If Arafat proves able to contain terrorism, ``the Palestinian problem can be solved by the end of the century.'' Herzog's passionate asides on such matters as the insidious racism of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, and the harsh sentence given to Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel in America, make this ``living history'' a lively one. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-43478-X

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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